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VOLUME 52 , ISSUE 3 ( July-September, 2018 ) > List of Articles


A Study on Alexithymia, Quality of Life, and Facial Emotion Recognition Abilities in Somatoform Disorders

Vinuprasad Venugopalan, Manas Elkal, Rishikesh V Behere, Samir K Praharaj, Haridas Kanaradi

Keywords : Alexithymia, Case–control study, Facial emotion recognition, Quality of life, Somatoform disorder

Citation Information : Venugopalan V, Elkal M, Behere RV, Praharaj SK, Kanaradi H. A Study on Alexithymia, Quality of Life, and Facial Emotion Recognition Abilities in Somatoform Disorders. J Postgrad Med Edu Res 2018; 52 (3):110-116.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10028-1284

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 01-04-2019

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2018; The Author(s).


Aim: To assess alexithymia and quality of life among patients of somatoform disorders (SFD) compared with healthy control subjects and to assess the association between alexithymia and facial emotion recognition ability and its influence on quality of life within diagnostic subgroups of SFD. Materials and methods: Forty-three patients diagnosed to have SFD (International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10) were assessed on the World Health Organization (WHO) SFD symptom checklist, Toronto Alexithymia Scale-26 (TAS-26), Tool for Recognition of Emotions in Neurological Disorders (TRENDS) and WHO Quality of Life (QOL) BREF to measure quality of life. They were compared with a control group of 47 healthy subjects. Results: Patients with SFD had greater alexithymia scores and poorer quality of life compared with controls. A novel observation was the inverse correlation between alexithymia and facial emotion recognition deficit, specifically in the diagnostic subgroup of persistent somatoform pain disorder compared with other diagnostic subtypes. Conclusion: Alexithymia is an important trait influencing quality of life, especially in patients with a diagnosis of persistent somatoform pain disorder and is associated with deficits in facial emotion recognition. Clinical significance: Association between alexithymia and facial emotion recognition is predominant in patients with somatoform pain disorder. Psychological interventions focusing on improving social cognition could potentially play a role in improving the quality of life in patients with persistent somatoform pain disorder.

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